RedZoneAction.org Blog
2016-12-01 13:18

Except the Navy-Army game is the regular season coming to an end this weekend.

And oh boy, will we see something special, and depended on the results, we will wittness something historic.

The game are listed a bit down the text, so I will jump to the possible results.

As it seems there are some scenarios which can happen regarding the College Football Playoffs and the historic part will be explained soon.
In the past two seasons, since the system was established, all participants were Conference Champions and one of the power 5 conference champs was left out each year.
In 2014 is was the BIG12 Champ, in 2015 it was the PAC12 Champ.
In 2016 is might happen that 2 or more conference champs will be left out, which would be a new thing, historic.
From my point of view there are arguments for this case as good as against it.

I'm pretty sure, if this happens and it happens again in the future, the system will be extended, once the initial period of 10 seasons for this system comes to an end.
Because it moves conferences heavily out of the focus and does help to implement a rich get rich mentality.
The playoff bowls are some of the highest payed bowls, if a conference does not get a spot, it will lose that money.
The conferences will also lose some steam in the recruiting process.
If that happens regularly, the conferences might slip to second grade and suddenly there are just power 4 or power 3 conferences and the rest.

Before I tell you more about the next games and the possible results, making history, here are the 'remaining' teams for the playoffs, based on my easy system:
Remember, this is my simple system to keep track on the possible teams.
The sports sites sometime do feature much less teams, like 5 to 6, some do feature 7 to 8.
Those 12 teams below are the maximum pool, I guess.

"Ahead"
Alabama Southeastern Conference
Alabama will play Florida for the SEC title and is favored

"In needs of a great goalline stand"
Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference
Clemson will play Virginia Tech for the ACC title and is favored

Ohio State Big Ten Conference
Won against Michigan but has no game left to play

Washington Pac-12 Conference
Washington will play Colorado for the PAC12 title and is favored

"In need of a Hail Mary"
Oklahoma Big 12 Conference
Will play Oklahoma State for the BIG12 title and is favored

Oklahoma State Big 12 Conference
Will play Oklahoma for a share of the BIG12 title, outsider

West Virginia Big 12 Conference
Can not win the Big12, outsider

Michigan Big Ten Conference
Lost to Ohio State, with no games left, a long shot for a playoff spot

Penn State Big Ten Conference
Penn State will play Wisconsin for the BIG10 title and is underdog

Wisconsin Big Ten Conference
Wisconsin will play Penn State for the BIG10 title and is favored

Western Michigan
Mid-American Conference Lone unbeaten non-power5-team left, primed for a new years bowl spot, but Navy is near. Outsider for a playoff spot

Colorado Pac-12 Conference
Will play Washington for the PAC12 title and is underdog

4 teams did lose last week and did disqualify from my list, Louisville, Nebraska, Boise State and Florida.
Florida is interesting, since they will play for the SEC title this weekend.

To be honest, I can't see the outsiders getting a realistic shot and I also can't see Western Michigan getting one.
Without them, the real contenders for the 4 playoff spots are 9 teams.
Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington, Oklahoma, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Colorado.

SO what could happen this season?

Scenario 1: All favorites will win
That would mean Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Wisconsin and Oklahoma do claim the victories.
Alabama and Clemson would get a playoff ticket, for sure.
Washington very likely.
The remaining seat?
There is a 1-loss Ohio State team, with no game this weekend.
There is a 2-loss BIG10 Champ Wisconsin ranked #6 right now, winning against Penn State ranked #7.
There is also Oklahoma with 2 losses, ranked #9 right now, which won against #10 ranked Oklahoma State.
And there is the 2-loss Michigan team, also with no game this week, ranked #5 right now.
One of those 4 teams would get that final seat and I think it would not be Oklahoma and not Michigan.
Ohio State or Wisconsin? I don't know, but at least a BIG10 team would be in, maybe just not the champ.

Scenario 2: Some might fall
Of cause this can have many sub cases.
If Alabama loses, I think Alabama would not slim too much. To #3? Maybe. To #4? Likely. To #5? Probably not, depended on the other results.
Then would the SEC send a non-champ to the playoffs.
If Clemson loses, I think they would fall out of the playoffs with 2 losses, if all others win. If Washington would lose also ... not sure. But likely out.
The ACC is not that strong and VT has already 3 losses against not so tough opponents.
If Washington loses, it's likely the PAC12 is toast, since Colorado is ranked quite low, but that depends on the other results.
Let's say the chances are slim.
If Wisconsin loses, Penn State would be in a good position to get a playoff spot, but whether they can jump over Ohio State and Michigan ... I don't know.
I would put them there, since they won against Ohio State and have won against several other tough teams.
And if Oklahoma State wins, the BIG12 will left out for sure, since both teams are ranked quite low and the lower you are now, the less you will climb after the weekend.

Bottom line.
Everything is possible here, it can happen that 2 BIG10 teams get a shot, which would mean 2 conferences are left out.

Scenario 3: all favorites do fall
That's a highly unlikely scenario, but it could happen.
Florida, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Penn State and Oklahoma State would win their conferences.
I think in that case would Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State and Colorado or Michigan get the seats.
But 3 teams from the BIG10? I don't think that will happen.
It would fuel the expansion talks heavily.

I'm curious to see the results next week.

Regarding the bowl spots there was some movement last week and it is clear that some 5-7 teams are needed, it's just not clear how many.
There are 74 teams already bowl eligible.
There is also Hawaii with 6-7 which would get for sure a bowl spot, since they have 6 wins.
And there are 3 teams still in the hunt for a bowl spot.
Army, has already 6 wins, but 2 of those are against FCS teams, which is too much. If they win against Navy next week, they are officially eligible.
If they lose, it's quite likely that they still get a bowl spot before a 5-7 team gets a shot.
Louisiana-Lafayette needs just one win to get to 6 wins total and will play rival Louisiana-Monroe this weekend, on the road.
South Alabama is the last team in a bowl hunt, which has 5 wins, but also 2 of those against FCS teams.
So even a win would make them ineligible by the regular rule, but since 5-7 teams are needed to fill the 80 bowl spots, it's likely that they would get a spot, if they win against New Mexico State.

Summery: 74 teams are in already, 2 teams are likely in already and 2 teams can get a spot if they win this weekend.
So minimum is 76, maximum is 78.

That means 2 to 4 teams with a 5-7 record are needed to fill the gap.
The APR is than taken into account.
I have no proven information’s about the possible ranking of the teams, but 5-7 teams are:
SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, North Texas, Akron, Northern Illinois, Nevada, Cal, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette (if they lose), Louisiana-Monroe (if they win), South Alabama (if they lose) and Georgia Southern (if they win).
That's 15 teams for 2 to 4 spots.

There is one thing this season which is also historic, or could become historic.
Normally the final CFP rankings are posted after the Championship game week and normally are also the bowls filled after that week.
But there is still that Army-Navy game a week later.
In the last 2 seasons that game irrelevant for the Bowls and the CFP ranks.
This season there is this:
Highest ranked non power 5 team is Western Michigan. If they win the MAC they might keep that spot and will end up in a New Years bowl.
Navy is ranked 2 spots below Western Michigan and will play for the American Athletic conference title this weekend.
The AAC is much higher valued than the MAC.
WMU will play a 8-4 Ohio teams, while Navy will play a 9-3 Temple team.
If both teams win, it might come down to the Army-Navy game, since if Navy does lose, they would drop in the ranks, if they win that also, they might rise or stay at the same spot above WMU.
If that happens, Navy would get a New Years bowl spot.
The problem is, based on that spot, many other spots will be filled, so as long as that spot is open, many other bowls can't fill their spots.
Bottom line is, it might happen that the final CFP ranks will be posted after the Army-Navy game and ALL Champs and highly ranked teams for the CFP will have to wait ONE week to know if they are in, or out.
That would be funny.
I can already see the WHY TEAM X HAS TO BE IN THE PLAYOFFS posts, enter for TEAM X any team still in the mix.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14

Fri. Dec 2 9:00 PM ET
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#8 Colorado vs. #4 Washington

The line is -7.5 for that game, means Washington is believed to win here.
The signs do point into that direction.
Colorado has lost a game more overall that Washington and did look a bit tougher to beat overall.
I can imagine that great Buffalos defense coming up against the great Washington offense, but with the history of the Huskies HC I think the Huskies will find ways to score and than is Colorado in trouble.
I think we will either see a close game and Washington wins or a blow out and Washington wins.
Yes, Colorado can win also, but I just can't get my head around that scenario.
I think Washington will win this and will get a playoff spot.
Huskies win.

Sat. Dec 3 12:30 PM ET
#10 Oklahoma State @ #9 Oklahoma
The Bedlam Series is played since 1904 in football and Oklahoma is leading the series 85–18–7, but have only a 1 game winning streak.
The game 2 years ago in Norman was won by Oklahoma State and this could happen this season again.
There are 2 main questions here.
Can the Oklahoma defense stop the dynamic Cowboys offense?
And can the Cowboys defense, which gave up many points in the past, stop the Sooners offense.
Vegas sees the Sooners as 11.5 favorite, which is quite big.
I think Oklahoma will win here, and I have the feeling that the Cowboys will not score very often, while the Sooners running game will score at will.
I think Oklahoma will win the BIG12, again, but will not get a playoff spot this season.
Sooners win.

Sat. Dec 3 4:00 PM ET
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#1 Alabama vs. #15 Florida

I can't believe the Gators are ranked #15.
That sounds too high for a team which lost so big against FSU, which is ranked just a fraction higher than Florida.
So what happens if the best team in the country will play against Florida.
I think if Florida wins this game (Vegas line -24.0), the Gators would have done something spectacular and would still not get a playoff spot.
Alabama on the other side probably would. Even then.
But who will bet against the Crimson Tide?
I will not.
Alabama will win big here and will get into the playoffs at #1 team.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Dec 3 8:00 PM ET
DR PEPPER ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#3 Clemson vs. #23 Virginia Tech

I think the distance between Alabama and Florida is bigger than the distance between Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Still the distance in the ranks are bigger for the ACC teams.
Well, Vegas says -10.0 here for Clemson and that sounds fair.
Virginia Tech has a chance to win this, since Clemson were several times this season near a loss, but won.
VT just needs some extra luck.
Do I believe in such an extra luck?
No.
Clemson will win here, in a close game, to enter the playoffs as #2 team.
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec 3 8:00 PM ET
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#6 Wisconsin vs. #7 Penn State

Now it gets tricky.
I think both teams can beat the other team.
Let them play 100 time and we might see PSU winning 40+ game, Wisconsin 50+ games.
The Badgers are favored by 2.5 points, which is the best such a game can have, a close one.
Nothing is more frustrating than a clear favorite.
I like both teams and I like it how both teams did fight through to earn their title game spots.
It's not sure, whether either winner will get a playoff spot, since Ohio State does sit much higher in the ranks and has no game.
It might happen that Ohio State will get to the playoffs and the winner here has to settle with the Rose Bowl.
Not that bad, but for sure a bit disappointing.
Who will win?
I picked Wisconsin as the winner, leaning on their great defense.
I will not be surprised to see Penn State as the winner, but my gut feeling says Wisconsin will shut PSU down and wins this in a low scoring game.
Badgers win.

Other interesting games:

Fri. Dec 2 7:00 PM ET
MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
#17 Western Michigan vs. Ohio

This is expected to be quite one sided.
The Broncos are 18.5 point favorites and the Bobcats can just try to upset them by luck or some magic.
Such an upset would have big impacts on the whole system, see my bowl remarks.
In that case the Army-Navy game might again be not relevant.
But I can't believe the Broncos will let this go.
They will crush Ohio, which had a quite average season and which lost some games surprisingly (and won some also), and will try to get that New Years bowl spot.
Broncos win.

Sat. Dec 3 12:00 PM ET
Troy @ Georgia Southern
This game is important for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Appalachian State has already secured at least a share of that Championship and has finished the season.
Troy and Arkansas State will have the chance to get also a share of the title, if they win this week.
ASU will play Texas State, which will be likely a win, so THIS game here, Troy - GSU, will determine whether 2 champs or 3 champs will be there.
Troy is favored to win this (7.0) and I think they can win by a higher margin than the line suggests.
Georgia Southern can only try to win here to become a 5-7 team and eventually get a bowl spot as such, but the chances are slim.
I think Troy will win here, period.
Trojans win.

Sat. Dec 3 12:00 PM ET
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Temple @ #19 Navy

A very important game.
If Navy wins, they might get a New Years bowl spot.
If they lose, Temple is at least in the mix, if WMU does lose the MAC game.
Navy has proven so far that they can beat good football teams, and they play at home.
The Vegas line is -3.0, which is worse than I expected it to be.
But to be fair, Temple has just lost one game this season inside the conference, against Memphis, while Navy has lost against South Florida.
Both teams lost on the road, so I favor the home team here.
Navy win.

Sat. Dec 3 12:00 PM ET
DYNACRAFT CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Louisiana Tech @ Western Kentucky

WKU is favored by 9.5 points to win this. The Hilltoppers have won 1 game more inside the conference and do play at home.
LT can win this, but I think they need to play 100% and some luck.
I expect a high scoring game and hopefully a fun one.
Hilltoppers win.

Sat. Dec 3 7:45 PM ET
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
San Diego State @ Wyoming

The last game and this seems to be difficult.
A few weeks ago where the answer easy. SDSU was flying high and had won all games, they won the division early and the other teams did look to weak to bring them down.
I thought they would play Boise State in an epic battle, but the Broncos did lose suddenly as did SDSU.
Wyoming won 2 weeks ago against the Aztecs, at home, by a single point.
Now we have the rematch and Vegas sees SDSU favored by 6.5 points.
I'm not sure this is a good one, but I can see where that comes from.
I think the Aztecs can win this, I think they will win this, but it will be a close game and a single error could lead into an upset and another loss in Wyoming.
We will see.
My pick is on San Diego to play a better game than last time.
Aztecs win.

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